Seeing Clearly in the Dark

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Editorials
10/30/2017

Magazine highlights Apache's work on Dark Skies initiative

While an increase in oil and gas production signals bright prospects in the Permian Basin, Apache is helping to ensure ongoing research activities at nearby University of Texas McDonald Observatory stay in the dark.

Apache is working with the McDonald Observatory in its Alpine High play in Reeves County, Texas, to implement dark skies friendly lighting practices in its operations.  The Observatory has also partnered with the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA) to educate the oil and gas industry on the steps operators can take to mitigate light emissions. The proactive educational initiative, which was recently featured in the September 2017 issue of Permian Basin Oil & Gas magazine, seeks to find ways to keep the skies dark for the world-class astronomical research facility.

Written by Bill Wren with the McDonald Observatory, the article, "Staying in the Dark is the Brightest Idea," highlights the industry's efforts to keep the skies dark above the observatory, which sits atop Mount Locke in the heart of the Davis Mountains. The observatory is home to the third-largest telescope in the world, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET), which requires extremely dark skies to gather images from across the universe.

While current nighttime operations in the Permian Basin only brighten the horizon, production increases could raise the level of brightness, and potentially impede the observatory's HET Dark Energy Experiment, which requires an extremely dark field of study 55 degrees above the horizon.

The PBPA published light recommendations in April 2017, which target activities in counties surrounding the observatory. Although counties in the area have existing outdoor lighting ordinances, there is little active enforcement. The PBPA seeks to educate operators on good lighting practices, which ensure the observatory can continue to conduct its research. Additionally, the practices benefit oil and gas activities by reducing glare, increasing visibility and improving safety.

Apache's support of the initiative is specifically highlighted in the article, including the company's use of LED light bulbs and the shut-in of exploratory wells near the Davis Mountains to avoid flaring gas, which can brighten the night skies.

"Apache is proud of our partnership with the McDonald Observatory and our work to ensure all our operations are compliant with the Dark Sky Initiative. We've educated our employees, improved our work spaces and really sought to integrate protecting the work of the observatory in everything we do," says Castlen Kennedy, vice president of Public Affairs.

To read the entire article, visit http://www.mazdigital.com/webreader/51626?page=14.

 

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LATEST FROM APACHE

Apache celebrates groundbreaking for ninth school in Matrouh

Apache celebrates groundbreaking for ninth school in Matrouh

David Chi, region vice president – Egypt Region and general manager, Apache Egypt, recently attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Apache’s ninth co-educational school in Matrouh in Egypt’s western desert.

LEARN MORE +

Apache Opens Remote Operations Center

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This past summer, the company took steps toward expanding its digital strategy with the construction of a remote operations center in Elk City, Oklahoma.

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